Johannesburg - Lions captain and Springbok No 8 Warren Whiteley is unlikely to feature in this weekend's Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park.
There were hopes that Whiteley could make his long-awaited return to action from a knee injury, but a Lions spokesperson told Netwerk24 that he will likely not suit up for Saturday's clash.
Time is now running out for Whiteley to regain his fitness and match sharpness to convince Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus that he should form part of his Rugby World Cup plans.
The 31-year-old Whiteley played 23 Tests for the Springboks between 2014 and 2018, but his career has been plagued by injuries over the last year.
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The Lions are the only unbeaten team in the Currie Cup, having won all three of their matches to date - albeit by a combined five points.
They lie second on the log, two points behind Griquas who have played one more match.
Saturday's clash at Ellis Park is scheduled for 17:15.